If you are considering getting divorced in California then you likely have many questions. You may be wondering what your options are, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. The best way to get answers to your specific questions is to contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a free case evaluation. In the meantime, read on to learn how long the average divorce takes in California and learn about potential shortcuts that can speed up the process.
The residency requirement for filing
First and foremost, you must meet the residency requirement for divorce. In California, it is six months. This means you must have lived in the state of California for at least six months before you can file. Once you have filed and served your petition, your spouse has 30 days to answer.
However, if your spouse needs more time and you want to allow it to them, your family law attorney can waive the requirement and allow them more time. If your spouse wants more time and you deny it, they will likely take it to court. In most cases, the court will grant it.
There is a six-month waiting period
In California, the six-month waiting period starts on the date your spouse is served – not the date you actually file the petition. If you and your spouse do not already have all your agreements in order, such as alimony child custody, etc., then your six month waiting period can be used to come to agreements. Once the agreements have been made, your attorney will submit them to the court.
Once the waiting period expires, a judge will sign the decree and the divorce will be finalized. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, then you will notify the courts at the end of the six months. At that point, a trial will be required to settle the divorce and you can expect to wait months longer.
Certain factors can extend the amount of time a divorce takes
Of course, ever divorce is different and the different factors in a divorce can affect how long it takes. For example, a person who has no children and has only been married a few years may be granted a divorce more quickly than a person who has three children with their spouse and 20 years of community property.
Shortcuts to get divorced more quickly
If you and your spouse have not yet settled every property and custody issue but you want to be divorced, California family law code does allow for you to bifurcate the divorce. This means that your marital status is terminated at the six-month mark – or whenever it is requested – but the issues are left open to be agreed upon or litigated.